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Even then, the reactionary party continued strong enough to put
a drag on the progress of liberal thought. Happily the chief
effect of its opposition was to stimulate the new learning to a
remarkable vigour, such as it no longer possessed either in Italy
or in the other countries where it had been adopted, and to make
France the chief centre of classical study for the next two centuries.

In the sphere of education the result of the conflict of learnings
was no less striking. So far as the schools and colleges were
concerned, the victory of the reformers was only partial.
Guillaume Bude (1468-1540), the most distinguished of the
French humanists, succeeded through a tractate On the Education
of the Prince (1516), addressed to the young King Francis, in
winning the support of the Court against the Church and the
university. With the help of Francis, he was able to institute
the College of France in 1530 with chairs in Greek, Hebrew,
Latin and Mathematics, and through it to attack scholasticism
in its last great stronghold. About the same time the College of
Guyenne, a notable humanistic school on broad and tolerant lines,
was founded in Bordeaux by Andrfe Gouvfea. But for the most
part the older institutions of learning continued to hold their own
and to present a strenuous opposition to the incoming of all
novelties. Here again, however, the effect of opposition was
different from the intention. By way of compensation for the
thwarting of the desire for reform, there came an outburst of
educational idealism, largely outside the schools altogether, in
which the passion for individual freedom made its first fateful
appearance in European thought about education. It emerged
early in the Sixteenth Century as a side-interest of Rabelais' satire,
entered somewhat later into the sphere of practice in the university
reforms of Ramus, and finally found its most enduring expression
in the Essays of Montaigne. For a proper appreciation of this very
important movement of thought in its beginnings we must study
its diverse manifestations in these three pioneers.

Francois Rabelais (1495-1553) was born at Chinon, in the centre
of France. At the age of nine he was sent by his father to a
Franciscan convent to become a friar of the order ; and there, in
spite of the ignorance of the monks, he made a beginning with
the study of Greek. To escape the persecution brought upon him
by his learning, he was transferred by permission of the
a Benedictine abbey, where, as a bishop's chaplain, he enjoyed